Open wounds: When the Hurt meets the Healer (Part 2)

Two hands touchingContinued from “Open Wounds: When the Hurt meets the Healer (Part 1)”

Let’s review and expand on my Takeaways from my husband’s hand injury:

  1. Men – listen to your wives! I try not to be the “I told you so” wife, but for some reason, when it comes to the care of my family, my gut has never steered us wrong.
  2. Every part is needful. One injured digit can hinder your entire life.
  3. Fake news isn’t good news; so don’t be afraid of the truth.
  4. Serious wounds should not be left covered.

I will resist the temptation to expound on Takeaway #1. (wink-wink!)

Takeaway #2: Every part is needful – one injured digit can hinder your entire life.

My husband has told me often since this accident how much of a hassle it is that he can’t fully use his dominant hand and how challenging it is to execute the most mundane tasks, like writing and shaving. My poor husband. He has seriously struggled to keep a level of normalcy in his life all the while being in pain, enduring swelling and pressure within the bandage, and having trouble sleeping and executing his everyday tasks. I have become a lot more conscious of what he cannot do in order to help him. I’m oftentimes in my own little world, so I’ve really had to concentrate on being aware of what he’s doing so I can step in to assist when he needs me.  Every part of his life has been affected by this temporary handicap which has really driven home the message that every part of the body is needful and that we take it all for granted until we can’t.

The same is true in the body of Christ, and I would even expand to say, any community that requires people to interact in an interdependent way. Let me ask us all this: Are we noticing the wounded? Are we on the lookout for those in our community who are missing, silent or seem to have slunk back into the shadows? And if we’re the one who’s wounded, are we seeking healing in a purposeful way? It’s so easy to remain wounded and, as a result, remove ourselves from being an integral part of our community. But the Lord is the Great Physician and He came to bring healing for our woundedness. He sets the lonely into families because the community needs us and we need them.

Psalm 68:5-6a (NLT) – Father to the fatherless, defender of widows–this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.

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Open wounds: When the Hurt meets the Healer (Part 1)

“Cecily, we have to go to the hospital right NOW!”

My husband, John, was standing in the doorway between the mudroom and the garage clutching his hand in a towel. He was still wearing his snow blowing gear and furry hat.

It took me a few seconds to process what was happening. I had been upstairs, still in my pajamas with crazy morning hair, when I heard him shouting my name from downstairs. The tone of his voice was unlike anything I had ever heard so I came running. That’s when I saw him in the doorway.

“I cut my finger off. We have to go NOW.”

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh. This isn’t happening. I ran upstairs to change into clothing and then oddly stood there paralyzed. What should I wear? Really? Can I really not find clothing – ANYTHING – to put on? I grabbed jeans out of the closet, a sweat shirt and a baseball hat to cover my bedhead.

Earlier that morning, John had gone out to snow blow our driveway and also the bottom of our neighbors’ driveways when the accident happened. I had taken the day off as a vacation day because we were scheduled to leave for a trip to New York City with my parents once the roads were clear enough to drive on. This is why I was still sitting in my pajamas in no hurry to get ready. But now I was in a hurry that made my thoughts blur.

When I finally got downstairs, John was already sitting in the car. I could hear moans that made my knees buckle.  Oh my God, oh my God. I can’t believe this is happening.

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Faith in the fire: When you love an addict (Part 2)

alone-with-his-thoughts_free_stock_photos_picjumbo_HNCK9089-1570x1047Continued from Part 1

The next thing I knew, Gordon wasn’t the focus in the room – I was. They were quickly and efficiently hoisting me up onto a gurney and wheeling me out into the hallway where they left me to come to my senses. I lay there in a stupor of sadness and madness. I was devastated that this was my drunk and bloody son in the other room. And I was mad at myself for being too weak to stay the course with him. Even if I got up off the bed, they weren’t going to let me back in there. Now I just had to sit and listen to howling and not be able to hold my son’s hand. I had to be alone with the feelings of embarrassment that I was the mother who couldn’t save her son from addiction, let alone stay on her feet in the presence of his wreckage. I didn’t know much at that time about being the parent of an addict, so I lay there in a pool of my own guilt while my son was being stitched up in the next room.

After we checked out, I brought Gordon home. He had not been living with us when this accident occurred. A few months after his 18th birthday in the middle of his senior year of high school, Gordon moved out of our house to live with friends – who I assumed were doing and selling drugs. But we could no longer corral or control him. His behavior in our home had become intolerable and we had to think of the welfare of the four children who still lived with us and needed a semi-normal life. Gordon was breaking out every night, and had reached the age of emancipation, so we had no choice but to let him move out.

But on this night after the accident, I brought Gordon back to our house and planned to put him to bed and deal with him in the morning. After we arrived home, Gordon turned to me in the car and flatly told me that he hated me. He told me that he would never want to become a Christian because I was the worst person he knew and if I was a Christian then the whole thing was a joke.

Again, I didn’t have any training in dealing with addicts at that time, and I hadn’t been to any support group meetings or read any literature. So hearing those words that night, after all that I had gone through because of his addiction, cut me like a knife. I didn’t know whether to hit him in his stitched up eye or burst into tears.

So I did nothing. I got out of the car, opened his door, and helped him into the house and up the stairs into his old room. I put him to bed and shut the door. I didn’t say a word.

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Faith in the fire: When you love an addict (Part 1)

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This post is a departure from my regular posts due to the content. But I have always found that sharing real life struggles helps someone somewhere. If you’re the one it touches, please know that you’re not alone.

I jumped up in bed so quickly that my head was spinning. I had been pulled out of deep sleep so harshly that I was disoriented and dizzy. It took a couple more seconds to realize that the phone was ringing. Why is the phone ringing? What time is it?

The clock said 2:15AM. This isn’t going to be good.

When the phone rings at these hours, it’s always a call that pulls the breath out of my body and leaves me without strength under the weight of whatever horrible news is coming at me from the other end of the phone. These calls are every parent’s worst nightmare and I’ve had too many of them.

The voice on the other end of the phone was my 19 year old son. He was drunk, crying and scared. He said he was in the emergency room, that he thought he was going to lose his eye and that the cops were there. He begged me to come to him. He kept saying how scared he was and how much pain he was in. Somehow, I managed to discern that he had been in a car accident and had put his face through the windshield. There was either glass in his eye or near his eye causing him a lot of pain. I’ll be right there.

I jumped out of bed, threw on my clothes and put my hair back in a baseball cap. The hospital was an eight minute drive from home in which time my mind came to its fully alert mode and started trying to process the pieces of crazed information that had come from my manic son. I tried the best I could to brace myself for whatever I was going to see when I walked into the emergency room since I had no way of knowing just how bad the injuries were.

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Fruit that Remains: Excerpts from my journals that nourished me and might encourage you, too!

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Fruit That Remains: Lessons from my journals. These are excerpts from my journals over the years. Some are more current than others. I love going back into my journals because I always get refreshed and re-learn the lessons that the Lord has taught me and that I have faithfully scribed.

While in my daily devotions this morning, the Holy Spirit brought this phrase to my mind: “Do not make the Word of God of no effect.” Yikes! What does that mean??

I knew I had learned that Scripture from the Bible and that Jesus had said it, but I couldn’t recall where or to whom he had said it.  What were the circumstances? I needed to dig deeper as I felt the Lord correcting me.

When I looked up the reference, I found that this quote is in Mark 7:13. The King James Version of the Bible says, ‘Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.’ The New American Standard version says it like this: “…thus invalidating the Word of God by your tradition which have handed down; and you do many things such as that.”

In this passage, Jesus is chastising the Pharisees because they put all of their religious emphasis on outward displays and man-made rules while their hearts are far from God. When Jesus says that the Pharisees “invalidate” or “make of none effect” the Word of God, the original Greek language that the text is written in uses the word, “akuroo”. Jesus uses “akuroo” to describe how they invalidate the Word and void it of power and effect by acting as though they can change it, adapt it, manipulate its message or disregard Who the Author is.

Akuroo (Strong’s Akuroo) is the negative, or the upside-down version, of the word, “kuroo” (Strong’s Kuroo) which means “to validate, confirm publicly, ratify”. “Kuroo” itself comes from another root word, “”kurios” (Strong’s Kurios) which means, “Master, Lord, the greeting of a servant to his master, the title given to God, the Messiah”.

When I don’t reverence the entire Word, I make its power of no effect in my life. After all, the Word is Jesus. John says in John 1:1,  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” I must greet the Word with the reverence of a servant. The Word is not here to serve me, but I the Word. I am not here to take parts of the Word and make it fit my mold but the Word is here to mold me into its form. I am its servant not the other way around. I don’t get to decide what parts I want to read or obey…IF I want God’s power to be in it, that is! The power comes through reverence and honor.

No wonder Jesus was chastising the Pharisees here. They were standing right in front of the incarnation of the Word they professed to know backward and forward and they couldn’t recognize him. Meanwhile, the wounded, the blind, and the rejected knew right away that He was the Light of the world and the remedy for all that was broken. They knew that one word from His mouth would bring healing, cleansing and restoration to everything that was ruined in their lives.

If I believe that this Word is God-breathed, that Jesus is the Word (even if I don’t understand totally how that works), then I will approach the Word with the same faith, expectation, and devotion of those who saw and touched Jesus in the flesh. I will approach this powerful, restorative Word on my knees – either physically or spiritually.

Lord God, I repent for not honoring Your Word and hearing Your voice every time I read it. I repent for the times that I have handled your word incorrectly and without proper reverence and awe.  I ask for your forgiveness for the times that I have approached Your Word casually and routinely. Please open my eyes, my ears and my heart to see and hear You in Your Word. And help me to never again handle it with vile hands, human goals and selfish reasons. Your Word has suspended the heavens above the earth, created everything seen and unseen and will still remain for all of the eternal ages to come. Jesus, you are the Word that stood before creation, brought creation into being and still upholds all things.  I honor You, my Master and Lord. Help me to hear Your voice of love as You speak to me. 

Thought for the Day: You can hear God speak to you. (Yes, you!)

Every now and then, my morning journaling time becomes more about what the Lord is saying to me than the other way around.  These are the times that I feel as though I have hit the bulls-eye in my devotion time.  After all, what’s more meaningful – pouring out my prayers and requests to the Lord or hearing His direction and wisdom on a matter? My words are important, and my prayers are a delight to the Lord, but when He chooses to enter my Here-and-Now and speak a word of comfort, direction or wisdom, I just can’t write fast enough! Below is one of those simple words that came while I was pressing in in prayer regarding some issues in my finances and my ministry that just weren’t budging.  I was fighting off discouragement as I looked at how many years I have prayed about some of these things. Let’s see what Jesus had to say:

“I am the God of the In-Between. I will fulfill every promise to you.  And in between the promise and its fulfillment, I will hold you and carry you. Stay close to Me. Don’t turn from My Word. Don’t turn to the left or to the right.  My promises are certain and My ways are sure and solid. I will never leave you or forsake  you. Make sure that you stay close to Me. Open your heart to Me and let’s be together. Pressure comes from you, not from Me. Peace and joy and overwhelming love come My holy presence. Surround Me with your love and it will deepen. I will take the seed and give you back a harvest.”

Now you:

  • Do you hear the Lord speak to you this way?
  • Do you believe that Jesus wants to speak to you as His child?
  • Do you know that you can hear Him speak to you?

Every child of God can hear His voice. God is no respecter of persons, the Bible says in Acts 10:34. That means that God answers the faith of whosoever.

I remember when I was first taught that I could hear God speak to me and that I could write down what He said.  When I started trying to journal what I thought I was hearing, I felt so foolish! I felt like I was making it all up! But here’s how I knew that I wasn’t making it up: As I kept practicing my ability to hear God’s voice, I began to write things down that were so correcting, aligning and freeing that I couldn’t have made it up.  The words carried such life that the more I meditated on them, the more I began to change. That could not have come inside me or else I would have been changed and found freedom long ago! Further, the words that the Lord speaks to me are always in alignment with the Word of God.  My thoughts are not always in alignment with God’s word, so that’s a big litmus test right there! And finally, the proof has been in the pudding, so to speak, in that I have grown in my ability to hear not only for myself, but for others as well.  And when I have ministered what the Lord wants me to say to other people, He has blown them (and me!) away with His accuracy and knowledge of their heart struggles.

But I had to start with the basics – getting a notebook, putting myself in the place of worship and then asking the Lord to speak about a situation or whatever He felt I needed to hear. Cool, huh?

You can hear God speak to you, too! Don’t believe the lie that you can’t!

John 10: 4-5a: When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow…

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Don’t Quit: Keys to ‘keeping on’ when your drive seems broken(Part 1)

Man and mountainI have a problem with a serious urge to quit when things are unraveling.  Or when the uphill trudge just goes on and on with no end in sight.  I assume that it’s tightly braided into my perfectionism and my need for relentless improvement.  One of my core values (my default personality) drives me to constantly try to improve myself and the things I’m involved with. That’s not a bad mindset until things don’t improve – or even worse, they fall apart.  #Reality.

My perfectionist tendencies drive me to abhor making mistakes (although that doesn’t seem to inoculate me from them), and to have other people notice how flawlessly I perform my tasks. GAH! That’s nuts. And not achievable.  Because it’s not an achievable goal to always succeed, always improve, always have people remarking about how impressive my achievements are, I tend to quit – at least I really, really want to quit!

I didn’t know I had a problem with this until recently.  But looking back over the history of my life I realize that I have been this way for-EVER!  My Mom can attest to the fact that I quit tennis when I was a kid because I wasn’t the best.  In later years, I tried golf and quit because I hacked the course to pieces the first two times I played,  Because I wasn’t an instant PGA golfer, I gave it up with the excuse that I don’t have time for golf (partially true).

I have quit ministry and volunteer commitments because life got too busy and I couldn’t handle the stretch of having to fit SO much into one life. I have quit friendships because it was too much work to maintain them. I didn’t mean to quit them. It just happened because I resigned my ownership in the relationship. #MissedOpportunities

  • Do you have missed opportunities because you quit before you could cross the finish line?
  • Do you struggle with quitting?
  • Do you have regrets about things or relationships that you have quit?

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